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Immigration Law

Immigration law concerns the federal laws that determine who can enter the country, for how long, and the naturalization process to become U.S. citizens. Attorneys help clients obtain visas and change their status under this statutory framework. On the other side of the process, immigration lawyers also focus on individuals who enter the country without authorization, overstay their visa, otherwise lose their legal status and those who are detained or subject to deportation. These attorneys often engage in civil litigation to resolve the dispute.

The need for lawyers in this area is significant as there is no right to a court-appointed lawyer in immigration proceedings. In this area of work, being fluent in an additional language is a valuable credential. JD students may apply four credit hours of language instruction at Wake Forest to their law degrees.

Immigration lawyers in the private sector often work in a small or specialty boutique law firm, but there are also some opportunities with in-house counsel and corporations and research universities. In the public sector, because immigration is federal in nature, there may be opportunities in government agencies like U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Recent graduates may find positions as asylum officers through the Presidential Management Fellowship, or as clerks to Immigration Law Judges through the DOJ Honors Program. Some non-profits may also hire experienced immigration lawyers.


Courses designated as "primary" are foundational, while those listed as "secondary" contain relevant and related content. "Co-curricular" courses are credit-bearing extra-curricular activities, while "experiential" courses are practice-based offerings. Please keep in mind that the focus of any course will vary depending on the instructor.

Primary Courses

Secondary Courses

Experiential Courses


The following faculty are knowledgeable about the topic and may be a useful resource for you.

Margaret Taylor

Margaret Taylor

Professor of Law

Steve Virgil

Steve Virgil

Clinical Professor of Law

Related Pathways

Civil Litigation

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Law Firm

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In-House Counsel and Corporations

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